Friday, April 02, 2010

Quote of the Week: The Rogue

"[Jose] Canseco has been described as a charmer and a clown, but in fact he is a rogue, a genuine one, and genuine rogues are rare, inside baseball and out. It's not enough to flout the law to be a rogue -- break promises, shirk responsibilities, cheat -- you must also, at least some of the time, and with the same abandon, do your best, play by the rules, keep faith with your creditors and dependents, obey orders, throw out the runner at home plate with a dead strike from deep right field. Above all, you must do these things, as you do their opposites, for no particular reason, because you feel like it or do no, because nothing matters, and everything's a joke, and nobody knows anything, and most of all, as Rhett Butler once codified for rogues everywhere, because you do not give a damn. One day you make that breathtaking play at the plat from deep right. Another day you decide for no good reason to come into the game during the late innings of a laugher and pitch, retiring the side (despite allowing three earned runs on three walks and a pair of singles) -- and forever ruining that cannon of an arm.

I've never seen a man who seems more comfortable than Jose Canseco with who he is -- not with who we think he is, like George W. Bush, or with his best idea of himself, like Bush's predecessor, but with himself, charmer and snake, clown and thoroughbred. He doesn't care what you think of him; if anything, he derives a hair more pleasure from your scorn and contumely than he does from your useless admiration. By coming forward as he did to peel back the nasty bandage on baseball's wound, it was not that Canseco had nothing to lose, as some of his critics claimed. A man like Canseco never has anything to lose or gain but his life and the pleasure he takes from it."
- Michael Chabon, "On Canseco," pp.147-148 of Manhood for Amateurs

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